Staying Sane in a Job Search
Always remember that you are not the most unlucky person in the world. This might seem like a little harsh to start off, but it is important that you don’t sit at home feeling sorry for yourself. You should stay rooted and remember where you are in life, while not letting a few rejections get you down – because it really does happen to everyone in a job search.
Get outside of your comfort zone, be proactive and try to do something every day that can boost your CV. From volunteering to more general activities, this will show prospective employers a lot about who you are! Depending on what jobs you’re looking for such activities could vary greatly: you could write and propose a paper for a conference/journal, or less CV based and more you based: concentrate on getting fit or learn a new skill. The sense of achievement can be revitalising.
Keep Your Chin Up
Stay positive and confident. On a basic level, this is what employers are looking for. Positive and confident candidates will sell themselves more effectively at interview and will stay sane in the job hunt.
You don’t know where your next job will come from so make sure people know you are looking for a job. The more people helping you find work the better and if a job opportunity comes up, you want to be the first name that pops into someone’s head. Some jobs are only advertised through word of mouth, so you will need connections to hear about them.
Is your CV up to scratch? How is your interview strategy? Always be prepared to learn at any opportunity and ask for feedback from unsuccessful applications. Maybe you shouldn’t look at it straight away, but after a few days have passed read what was said, use it and learn from it!
Are you suited to the jobs you’re applying for? Are you qualified? Are you better suited to other sectors? It can be a depressing topic to consider, but sometimes that dream job isn’t the answer, at least not at this point in your life. Try making a shortlist of the jobs your skills match (don’t be afraid to ask a careers adviser at your university or in your local area) and think about whether you would enjoy any of them; if so, get applying!
Be Fair to Yourself
This is the more forgiving side of keeping perspective: don’t feel bad if you do have down moments or wasted days, it happens to everyone, just learn to pick yourself back up and get back out there.
Make targets for yourself that you really can achieve, and then achieve them! Don’t say “I will have a job by next week!”, because that is out of your control. Instead you should be saying “I will apply for 5 positions each day” or “I will find new places to volunteer”. Ticking completed tasks off a list can also help deliver a sense of purpose and achievement, boosting self-esteem and confidence.
Spending every hour of every day searching for an elusive job can be tiring. Part of staying healthy and positive in the search requires a little ‘you-time’. Take some time each day to just chill, however you do it best: read a book, take a long walk, spend some time at the gym or just have a drink with friends (not forgetting a long, hot bath). Keeping your energy levels up and a positive head on will really help you in the long run.